Daniel Craig wanted to kill off James Bond since Casino Royale came out, say producers. Craig’s memorable run as 007 ended in explosive fashion during the climax of last year’s No Time To Die. Now the venerable secret agent film series finds itself without a lead actor, and looking at a new beginning in the post-Craig era.
But new beginnings are of course nothing new for the Bond series, a franchise that has gone through multiple lead actors over the course of 60 years. Craig’s arrival in Casino Royale indeed marked one of the biggest transitions in Bond history, as the series began deliberately evolving away from certain elements of its own formula that had grown stale by 2006. Craig’s portrayal of Bond was of course a big part of that evolution, as he took the character in new, more gritty and realistic directions than had previously been attempted.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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Critics and audiences alike wound up embracing Craig’s more brutal and less debonair take on Bond in Casino Royale, launching a new era for the series that in many ways has been its most intriguing. But despite the success of that series-changing Bond film, one person involved in the production was not happy and indeed made it be known that he wanted out. Speaking to The Empire Film Podcast, Bond series producer Broccoli talked about Craig’s early misgivings, saying that the actor wanted to kill Bond off right from the first film:
Well Fleming had flirted with killing Bond off a few times. So it’s always kind of been there. But I remember after Casino Royale, we had a premiere in Berlin, and after all the furor that went on about casting Daniel Craig, when we opened the movie and he was just an extraordinary success, it was a huge relief when we were traveling around the world. And we’d had this premiere in Berlin and I remember we got in the back of the limousine, we were all very happy. And Daniel said, “How many of these movies am I supposed to do?” And I was like “Oh my God.” I wish I’d said ten. But I told him the truth. And he said, “How about killing me off?” I said “Daniel, we’ve only just done the first one. Don’t start talking about killing yourself off.”
What Bond’s Death Means For 007’s Future
Rotating James Bond actors has of course been routine business since Sean Connery left the series in 1969 to be replaced by George Lazenby (before Connery famously returned, only to be replaced again by Roger Moore). But what isn’t routine is flat-out killing off Bond as producers did at the end of No Time To Die. This shocking decision certainly made for a thrilling and emotional climax to the latest Bond film, but it did leave fans wondering about what’s next for the long-running franchise.
But if the Bond series chooses to address the death of Craig’s Bond the same way it’s always addressed the turnover of lead actors, then the series will continue plugging away with no explanation of why Bond looks and sounds like a completely different person. Simply ignoring canon was in fact standard operating procedure for the Bond franchise right up until recent years, when the series began playing around with having recurring characters besides Bond, and story arcs that lasted over several movies. So history says that the next Bond film likely won’t make reference at all to the events of Craig’s Bond films, allowing the next Bond actor to start over with a clean slate.
It would indeed be a real change for the Bond franchise to even acknowledge the events of past films when the new one comes along. So the truth is, Bond’s death in No Time to Die likely will have no ramifications at all in the series. The next Bond actor most probably will get to start from square one like Craig did in Casino Royale. But hopefully they won’t be quite as miserable as Craig seemed to be.